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A Philosopher's Notes: On Optimal Living, Creating an Authentically Awesome Life and Other Such Goodness, Vol. 1 Hardcover – December 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Brian Johnson has written a wonderful book on optimal living that is very easy to read and has invaluable suggestions on how to live authentic, successful, loving, and happy lives. There is great wisdom in this book to help enrich anyone s life no matter what their age. I wish this book was available 40 years ago when I was just starting out on my own life journey. I whole heartedly recommend it." - John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods

"Curiosity can kill cats but it can also create cool cats and Brian Johnson is, no doubt,the coolest cat I know. If I could install a "chip" in Chip's head that allowed me to download this book all day long, I'd do it in a minute. Or maybe not, because one of the brilliant truths of "A Philosopher's Notes" is the visceral sense of discovery you experience each time you turn the page. These notes are more than streams, they are raging rivers of wisdom and reading just a half dozen pages at a time will sustain you for a week." - Chip Conley, Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Author of PEAK and Emotional Equations

"Brilliant! Brian Johnson has a rare gift for fresh-squeezing timeless wisdom and serving it up with a grin. Every single page of this phenomenal little book is packed with life-changing insights and down-to-earth charm. Prepare to get smarter, healthier and happier from the moment you pick it up!" - Pilar Gerasimo, Editor in Chief, Experience Life Magazine

"A great resource to live life at your absolute best." - Robin Sharma, author of the #1 international bestseller The Leader Who Had No Title

"Imagine if there was a book about personal growth that captured all the great lessons of all the hundreds of other great books and teachers? Look no further, this is the book! A Philosopher's Notes reads as quick as a page-turning novel, yet is filled with great nuggets of wisdom. Johnson makes every word count but does so with wit and style. Whether you've read 'em all or are new to the self-help aisle, A Philosopher's Notes is a must-read. It's one of, if not the best I've read (and I've read a lot of them). Already excited for number two." - Jason Wachob, creator of

"Brian's passionate love of wisdom oozes from A Philosopher s Notes. It s infectious. Distilling ancient wisdom to its essence, A Philosopher s Notes cuts through the noise of uncertainty. Without a wasted word Brian brings modern-world relevance to often- ambiguous philosophical writing, making it accessible and relevant to us all. It truly is the modern-day guide to optimal living." - Brendan Brazier, bestselling author of Thrive and formulator of Vega --Reviews

About the Author

BRIAN JOHNSON loves wisdom. He also loves creating cool businesses that inspire and empower people to live their most authentically awesome lives. A few years ago Brian decided to sell the business he was running and give himself a Ph.D. in Optimal Living. He couldn't find a program that integrated everything he wanted to study from old school philosophy, positive psychology and spirituality to nutrition, health & fitness, creativity, business and modern self-development. So, he decided to create his own doctoral program.

He earned his Master's by creating an innovative company called PhilosophersNotes where he shares "More Wisdom in Less Time" by distilling the Big Ideas from one hundred of his favorite optimal living classics into fun, inspiring and super practical 6-page PDFs, 20-minute MP3s and 10-minute PNTV episodes. This book is his dissertation. Before becoming a full-time Philosopher, Brian built and sold the social networking sites eteamz and Zaadz. He enjoys spooning with his Goddess when he's not reading, hiking, creating or otherwise enjoying himself.


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Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: en*theos Enterprises; 2014 edition (December 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983059101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983059103
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

BRIAN JOHNSON is the Philosopher + CEO of en*theos - a company that's all about helping people optimize their lives so we can change the world together.
Brian also created PhilosophersNotes, taught Optimal Living 101, wrote a little book called A Philosopher's Notes, is featured in the documentary Finding Joe and has a monthly "Big Ideas" column in Experience Life magazine. In his past lives, he raised over $8 m to finance the creation of two market-leading social platforms (eteamz + Zaadz) sold to two publicly traded companies (Active + Gaiam) after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA (where he studied Psychology + Business).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Peter Weis on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Philosophy Buffet.
(Total reading time 2-3 minutes)

Today on my quest to read fifty books in the year I finished reading number 8. A Philosophers Notes by Brian Johnson. The little book has almost two hundred pages packed with philosophy, self development and spiritual goodness. Don't be scared it is actually pretty easy to understand. The author uses a simple, current and conversational approach to make some pretty serious ideas understandable.

My favorite part of the book is that unlike many other books in the self development genre it is not overly preachy. Brian Johnson presents the reader with a buffet of ideas and take aways. You are free to pick and choose what you would like as appetizers, the main course and dessert. Yumo!

In life spirituality and religion sometimes collide. A Philosopher's notes shows us that living with Integrity, Blissipline, Gratitude, and a Positive Mindset is a cool thing to do.

The book is also packed with tons of inspiring quotes that on their own are seeds of wisdom.

Hear is a doggie bag of questions from the book to get you started.

Do you honor your commitments?
What do you want?
If you had all the time and money in the world what would you do?
What inspires you?
Besides the book, Brian Johnson also has a really cool website called-you guessed it . He takes us on a tour of 100 Self Development, Psychology, and Success classics. For a fair price you get 100 20-30 minute mp3s highlighting the major points and concepts of each book. Its the perfect way to absorb knowledge while out on a run or sitting in traffic. The mp3s are also an indispensable motivational tool for when you're having one of those days that just plan sucks.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By EJensen0510 on April 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was already a fan of Brian's Philosopher's Notes and now this book! He has taken the best of the best of timeless wisdom and put it in this compact, fun book. Then he delivers it in such a concise and energetic manner. You truly feel his passion for knowledge and most importantly his passion for sharing that knowledge with others!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The value you get from this book will depend on two things. First is how much reading/studying you have done on different philosophical works and secondly how you view the mixing of philosophy with hip-hop language.

This book covers the basics philosophy of leading a better life. The topics covered are not new. If you have studied Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Publilius Syrus, Buddha, Epictetus, Benjamin Franklin or even Deepak Chopra you will be very familiar with the concepts in this book. If you are just starting out, this book does a fairly good job of covering the concepts you need to embrace and engage in to live a more fulfilling life.

While the book tries to cover the important parts of living a more fulfilling life, for some strange reason, Brain Johnson, the author decided to write the book using extremely casual language - often making up words or using urban slang. I think this seriously detracts from the delivery of the book. Maybe he was trying to appeal to a younger audience or trying to fit in with the street crowd. I am not sure the hip-hop crowd is seriously interested in a better philosophy of life. And for me, it was a total turn-off.

I did like the layout of the book, the different sections are divided by a light blue page and there is a series of quotations before each section. In addition, the book has a ribbon page marker - reminds me of a feature that hard cover books once had but has almost totally faded from use.

If you are looking for a serious summary of a good philosophy of life and do not mind lots of urban slang, you will probably find this book interesting and useful. If you are a bit turned off by the mixing of serious philosophy with extremely casual language, you should probably pass.

This book is a quick and easy read and covers the basics. It is certainly not a scholarly work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Solomon King on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say about this book without mentioning the man behind it? Brian Johnson is a man on a quest for enlightenment, luckily for us a huge part of his personal journey is to shed light upon the path of others so that we may join him upon destination.

I myself come from quite the checkered past, both of my parents are immigrants from Vietnam after the war which for anyone familiar with similar circumstances would know can wreak havoc on family life in America. Long story short, they separated while my older brother, sister and I were very young in age.

For the next 15 years there was great turbulence which ended with my brother locked away in prison and my sister battling with drug addiction. I barely made it out of that life with my sanity, but I was hardly with proper guidance to succeed in life once my past heroes had fallen to their own lack of spiritual sustenance.

Then one day I stumbled upon while searching for inspirational quotes. Little did I know that this would become a pivotal point in my life, a moment in which some of the greatest thinkers in the world would allow me to explore their innermost thoughts and create a new outlook on my life.

It is obvious that without the proper guidance a child will become lost in any situation, but a child let loose upon the world without supervision will be swallowed whole by the carelessness and ignorance this world in current age carries in abundance.

This man's work literally changed my life, taught me how to create my own energy and submit that energy for others to feed from. To make a difference in my life by making a difference in the lives of others. I went from believing I could only have what was granted, to charging forward to take what I feel I deserve and more.
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